Taking Action: Building A Nonviolent Army

| August 10, 2001

Taking Action: Building A Nonviolent Army

A nonviolent army may sound like an oxymoron, but the same can be said about 'fighting for peace'? Recent conflicts around the world have, more than ever, raised the question of how to best bring two warring factions to a resolution, or at least to the table to hammer out a resolution.

Usually, when official negotiations have reached an impasse, there's not much outside forces can do but send in their troops and artillery to keep the two sides apart. This may work temporarily, but sooner or later, those troops have to go home. And many times when emotions are running high, the feuding factions will continue to fight anyway, causing the outside forces to get involved in the violence. All of this results in more bloodshed and resentment. Isn't there a better way?

David Hatsough and Mel Duncan believe that there is. Both men had visions of a global nonviolent army several years ago: Duncan while sitting in a Buddhist monastery and Hartsough while sitting in a Serbian jail. The two men met in 1999 and decided to form the Global Nonviolent Peace Force to 'organize and train an international standing peace force that could be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights,' they write on the Web site for Sojourners magazine. It is hoped that this would create a climate where opposing sides could seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.

Joining the two peace commandos is German Christine Schweitzer, who recently headed up the Balkan Peace Teams. The three, along with a impressive array of noted peace activists from around the world, including the Dalai Lama, are now working together to organize and fund the project. The Global Nonviolent Peace Force hopes to begin recruiting next spring and be ready to go into action in 2003.
--Al Paulson
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